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Wholegrains linked to heart health

Research presented at the annual American Heart Association conference suggests that eating wholegrain cereals can lower the risk of heart failure. The research was based on data from the Physicians’ Health Study, which followed the health and lifestyle of more than 10,000 American doctors from 1982 to 2006.
 
Doctors in the study, who had an average age of 54 years, completed detailed questionnaires each year, including information about their eating habits and any major health problems. The analysis showed that most doctors consumed wholegrain cereals on a regular basis. These were defined as cereals with an oat or bran content of at least 25%. Of the 10,469 doctors reporting their cereal consumption in 1982, 80% tended to eat whole-grain cereals, while 21% ate refined cereals. Around 60% of doctors ate wholegrain cereals at least twice a week.
 
Despite the high overall intake of wholegrain cereals, there were differences in heart health. Those who ate a wholegrain breakfast cereal seven or more times per week were a third less likely to develop heart failure over the course of the study than those who never ate wholegrain cereal. The risk of heart failure decreased by more than a fifth amongst those who ate a wholegrain breakfast cereal two to six times per week. Even those who ate a wholegrain cereal once a week demonstrated some benefit.
 
The authors concluded that consumption of wholegrain breakfast cereal was linked to a lower risk of heart failure. They suggested that the effect may be due to the effect of wholegrain on blood pressure and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. Wholegrains are rich in fibre and anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals. All of these nutrients have been found in experimental studies to have a positive impact on indicators of heart health.
 
For more information see
Djoussé & Gaziano (2007). Whole-grain breakfast cereal associated with reduced heart failure risk. American Heart Association 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. Abstract 34. www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-03/aha-wbc022007.php
 
EUFIC related material
Diet-related diseases- Cardiovascular

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